So, you’ve just spent a chunk of cash building a super slick new website for your business. You probably did some competitor research, looked at a range of sites for inspiration, and reviewed a number of different design concepts. Perhaps you even researched conversion funnel techniques and incorporated some of them into your design.
Awesome! It’s really important that your site looks great from a conversion perspective, as well designed sites inspire trust and confidence. However, some of the most important factors that contribute to having an effective website that converts are a little more difficult to evaluate, as they are technical rather than cosmetic.
These technical factors can have a massive impact on website speed, and slow websites can have a huge impact on your website’s conversion rates, revenue and bottom line.
Here is some research that shows how a slow website impacts your conversion funnel.
Every 500 milliseconds can mean 20% less traffic
Many years ago, Google asked some users how many search results they would like to see. The answer was clear – they wanted more than the 10 results that Google returned. After all, more is more, right?
Being a data-driven company, Google ran a simple experiment and increased the number of results to 30. Contrary to what their users said, Google found that traffic dropped by 20%, purely due to the extra half a second delay in returning 30 rather than 10 results.
Customers didn’t actually want more, they actually wanted less, despite their stated preference.
Other research corroborating this found that you could be losing nearly half of your visitors if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load and losing 11% of your page views for every 1 second delay.
So, to put it simply, if you have a slow website, you are missing out on filling the top of your funnel with nice and juicy prospects.
Every 100 milliseconds can cost 1% of sales
Amazon found that every 100 millisecond of latency caused a 1% drop in their sales! That’s massive when you think about. 100 milliseconds is almost indiscernible, yet it can have such a big impact on the bottom line.
There is plenty of other research supporting this, including a study that found a 1 second delay in page load time can reduce conversion rates by 7% and another than found 79% of web store visitors who had trouble with website performance won’t return.
This is largely because the less interactive a site is, the more likely users are to click away and do something else. Latency is an experience killer, people get bored easily, and they leave slow sites.
So, for every 1 second that you improve your site’s loading time, you can potentially improve your sales by 10%. For example, a small ecommerce store that generates $100,000 in annual revenue could increase sales by $10,000, merely by reducing website load time by only 1 second.
Thankfully, our experience indicates that the overwhelming majority of small to medium business ecommerce sites in Australia can easily improve their load times by significantly more than 1 second. And as an added bonus, faster websites mean better organic SEO rankings.
That’s a lot of lost traffic and revenue that someone else’s website is getting.
So, before jump on your laptop and google “cheap web hosting”, think about how much a slow website can impact your conversion funnel. Your business will be much better off if you only work with partners who are obsessed with website performance. Ask yourself, how much is 1% of revenue worth?
About the Author
Matthew Clarkson is co-founder at Hilenium, the performance website hosting company. Think of us as race-tuners for your website. Matt is often found in lycra cycling around Brisbane and is on Twitter at @matt_clarkson.